Griffins Top RNE

WINNSBORO – Fairfield Central’s boys’ basketball team (2-0) used four straight free throws in the final 30 seconds to fend off Richland Northeast last Saturday night to stay undefeated in this year’s young basketball season.

After the game Fairfield Central head coach Devin Liferidge was pleased with his team’s resiliency.

“It was ugly but I’ll take what I can get,” he said after the closely fought victory. “We have a young group and it was one those games that is necessary to have just to see if our kids can find a way to win a close game like that.”

With 16 lead changes in the game, Liferidge told The Voice the highly contested game was just as nerve wrecking on the bench as it was on the floor.

“I was waiting on somebody to make a run,” he said. “I wasn’t sure if it was going to be us or them, but offensively both teams staggered throughout.”

Trailing 32-28 halfway through the fourth quarter, the Griffins hit two free throws and netted a basket to knot the game up at 32-32. Both teams traded baskets to up the ante at 34-34, but a basket by Fairfield gave them a late edge at 36-34. With a slight advantage and the clock ticking away, the Griffins deployed their passing offense to milk the clock as much as possible and forced Richland Northeast to foul. The Griffins were money down the stretch from the line hitting all four of their free throws late in the game.

“I was impressed with how well our kids responded,” Liferidge said. “They fought back and got a stop and then got another score and to see that type of character this early in the season was impressive to me as a coach.”

Fairfield won the game without one of their top scorers, Shadarius Hopkins, who had 26 points in the win over Great Falls earlier in the week. Hopkins will be out for the next week to week and a half according to Liferidge.

“I told the kids before the game that good teams find a way to win,” Liferidge told The Voice. “We just found a way at the end and it wasn’t pretty or perfect but when we had to get a stop we got one and when we had to get a basket we got one.”

Fairfield received a scoring burst off the bench from an unlikely source, sophomore Chandon Davis.

“My hats off to Chandon Davis who came off the bench in his first home game and played like he was senior,” Liferidge said. “I really felt like he was the difference in the game. He didn’t stop making contributions to the game and was tremendous for us”

With the Griffins trailing 6-0 early in the contest, it was Davis’ 3-pointer that marked the Griffins’ first points of the game and snowballed into a game-high 13-point performance for the Griffins.

Next up Fairfield will travel to Richland Northeast for a rematch on Thursday, before hosting Great Falls on Saturday. The Griffins defeated Great Falls 79-70 in the first game of the season.

“This week we’ll be playing the same two teams, but a different location and hopefully we can play a little bit better in both of them,” Liferidge said.

Fairfield Central 40, Richland Northeast 36
RNE: 8-7-6-15 – 36
FC: 8-11-7-14 – 40
Individual scoring – Fairfield Central: Dequan Weldon 8, Brandon Adams 7, Byron Sampson 4, Chandon Davis 13, Akeel Richmond 1, Nick Rikard 7.  Richland Northeast: Nigel Chaney 1, Markus Fleming 10, Jamie Dickey 2, Breland Powe 1, Marquise Riley 9, Timothy Cheeseboro 10, DeShawn Thomas 3.